Business Analyst Skills List and Examples

Businesspeople in meeting
••• Image Source / Getty Images

Professional business analysts can play a critical role in a company's productivity, efficiency, and profitability. Essential skills range from communication and interpersonal skills to problem-solving and critical thinking. Business analysts can hone their skills through executive education programs and eventually earn a Certified Business Analysis Profession (CBAP) certification from the International Institute of Business Analysis.

How to Use Skills Lists

When writing your resume, list relevant skills. Don’t assume hiring supervisors know you have what they want. 

When you find a job that appeals to you, read the job description thoroughly and research the company. That way, you will know what to highlight in your cover letter, based on what the business values.

The interviewer will want you to elaborate on the skills you bring to the table, so choose three or four that relate to the position itself and be ready to share a few stories which showcase your qualifications. It also may help to review the skills listed by job and types of skills.

Core Skills

A number of skills are beneficial for business analysts, but there are a handful of abilities that are absolutely necessary. This is a rundown of those fundamental skills:

  • Communicating: Business analysts spend a significant amount of time interacting with clients, users, management, and developers. Therefore, being an effective communicator is key. You will be expected to facilitate work meetings, ask the right questions, and actively listen to your colleagues to take in new information and build relationships. A project's success may revolve around your ability to communicate things like project requirements, changes, and testing results. In your interview, focus on your ability to communicate proficiently in person, on conference calls, in meetings both digitally and otherwise, and through email. Consider having an example ready that demonstrates how being an effective communicator has served former employers well.
  • Problem-Solving: Every project you work on is, at its core, developing a solution to a problem. Business analysts work to build a shared understanding of problems, outline the parameters of the project, and determine potential solutions.
  • Negotiating: A business analyst is an intermediary between a variety of people with various types of personalities: clients, developers, users, management, and information technology (IT). You have to be able to achieve a profitable outcome for your company while finding a solution for the client that makes them happy. This balancing act demands the ability to influence a mutual solution and maintaining professional relationships.
  • Critical Thinking: Business analysts must assess multiple choices before leading the team toward a solution. Effectively doing so requires a critical review of data, documentation, user input surveys, and workflow. They ask probing questions until every issue is evaluated in its entirety to determine the best conflict resolution.

General Skills

Besides the core skills, employers also will be looking for more general skills and attributes:

  • Personal Attributes: Sought-after personal attributes include adaptability and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment with cross-functional teams. You also should hone analytical thinking, attention to detail, and creativity. Business analysts also are equipped with strong organizational skills, the ability to multitask and be an assertive, diplomatic leader.
  • Computer Skills: As a business analyst, you’ll need to be able to use many types of software, from the popular Microsoft Office Suite to less common packages like SharePoint, Visio, and Software Design Tools. You will need to stay abreast of new developments in IT as well.
  • Analytical Skills: Of course, a business analyst needs analytical tools for the efficient designing and implementing of processes to forecasting and gap analysis.